Campus alert status is green: For the latest UMMS campus alert status, news and resources, visit

Search Close Search


Wall Street Journal: UMMS study of canine DNA may yield discoveries to help people

Pet owners asked to report on their dogs’ behaviors, submit DNA samples

UMass Medical School Communications

December 04, 2015
  Elinor Karlsson, PhD

Elinor Karlsson, PhD
(photo by Michael J. Butts)

A new study by Elinor Karlsson, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine and a member of the Program in Bioinformatics & Integrative Biology, is examining the DNA of a wide range of dog breeds in hopes of learning more about illnesses in dogs and eventually resulting in improved medical treatments for humans, according to an article in the Dec. 3 Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Karlsson and colleagues, in collaboration with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, launched Darwin’s Ark this fall, through which they are asking pet owners to share observations about their pets’ behavior and personalities. Pet owners are also asked to collect DNA with mouth swabs and submit them. Dogs and people are afflicted by many of the same illnesses and diseases.

Read the full story at: Why Dogs Are Some Scientists’ New Best Friends